Veteran journalist Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury passes away

He breathed his last in London at 6:40am local time on Thursday

Veteran journalist and columnist Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury has passed away. He was 87.

He died of a cardiac arrest at a hospital in London at 6:49am local time on Thursday. 

Bangladesh High Commission in London is in touch with his family members regarding the next step, an official told UNB.

President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, different ministers, and distinguished personalities expressed profound shock and sorrow at the demise of Gaffar Chowdhury.

In a condolence message, the president said that Bangladesh has lost a pioneer who was progressive, creative, and believed in the spirit of the Liberation War. His immortal song on language movement gave immense courage and inspiration to the Bengali nation during the Liberation War.

President Hamid also prayed for the departed soul of Gaffar Chowdhury and conveyed his deepest condolences to his bereaved family.

In a message of condolence, the prime minister prayed for the eternal peace of the departed soul and conveyed deep sympathy to the bereaved family.

“Gaffar Chowdhury continued his works throughout his life to present the actual history in front of the nation supporting the pledge of the Father of the Nation to build Golden Bengal and upholding the non-communal spirit of Bangalees,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said that during the Liberation War Gaffar Chowdhury encouraged the freedom fighters through his writings in the Bangladesh Government registered weekly ‘Joy Bangla’. 

“Despite living abroad, through his write-ups he presented the ideology of the Liberation War of Bangladesh in national and international media,” she said.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader and Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen have also expressed deep shock at the death of the eminent journalist.

In a condolence message, the foreign minister said that Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury's contribution to the journalism of Bangladesh was remarkable.

Gaffar Chowdhury is best known for writing the lyrics of "Amar Bhaier Rokte Rangano" which is a widely celebrated song commemorating the Bengali Language Movement.

The song is regarded by listeners of BBC Bengali Service as the third best song in Bangla.

The famous journalist and columnist was in close touch with Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as part of his professional connections while he was born in the Ulania village in Mehendiganj of Barishal in 1934 as the then greater India was under British rule.

Son of a landlord and anti-British movement veteran Hazi Wahed Reza Choudhury, Gaffar Chowdhury graduated from Dhaka University in 1959 and came to England on 5 October 1974, where he lived settled.

But he was a frequent visitor to his homeland and wrote newspaper columns regularly keeping a close touch with Bangladesh and an eye on the country's affairs.

Before moving to Britain, Chowdhury worked as a journalist in different national newspapers in Dhaka and during the 1971 Liberation War, he worked for Joy Bangla, Jugantar and Anandabazar Patrika.

In the UK, Chowdhury founded a newspaper called the Notun Din while during his career as a journalist he authored 35 books like "Dan Pithe Shawkat", "Chandrodwiper Upakhyan", "Nam Na Jana Bhore", "Nil Jamuna", "Shesh Rajanir Chand" and "Polashi Thekey Dhanmondi".

He also produced a film on Bangabandhu's assassination titled "Polashi theke Dhanmondi".

His contributions to Bangla literary world was acknowledged even before Bangladesh's independence while he received Bangla Academy Literary Award back in 1967. He was awarded Sadhinota Padak in 2009.

Chowdhury was also the recipient of Ekushey Padak Unesco Literary Award, Bangabandhu Award, Shanghati Lifetime Achievement Award.

He went to the United Kingdom for the treatment of his wife and could not return to Bangladesh for 22 years after Bangabandhu's August 15, 1975 assassination along with most of his family members.

His wife Selima Choudhury died in London while the couple have four daughters alongside the son.